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US Auto Sales AIADA Scoreboard October 2017

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Despite a lukewarm auto market in October, international brands held their own, maintaining their lead among U.S. car shoppers. International brands sold just 634 more light vehicles from a year ago, with sales down year to date 0.36 percent. Brands like Honda (up 1.2 percent from last October), Nissan (up 10.2 percent), and Toyota (up 2.5 percent – thanks to a 19 percent jump in light truck sales) were responsible for the month’s solid results. Most sales improvements were driven by light truck purchases, which rose 3.6 percent as a segment from last October, while cars continued to lag, down 9.1 percent from a year ago.

“October’s steady sales rate is a testament to the quality of light vehicles being sold today and the American consumers’ confidence in the health of our economy,” said AIADA President Cody Lusk. “Last month’s SAAR, the second highest of 2018, gives dealers every reason to believe we will close out the year on a high note.”

Despite Slow Month, Internationals Still Lead U.S. Market Share

Despite a dip in overall sales for the month, international brands still led in the U.S. market, selling 748,614 vehicles and capturing 55.3 percent of overall sales. Last month, they sold 848,906 vehicles and occupied 55.7 percent of the market, and in October 2016 they occupied 54.5 percent of the market and sold 747,980 vehicles.

Asian brands dipped by half of a percentage point for the month, compared to sales figures from October 2016, selling 618,443 vehicles and capturing 45.6 percent of the market. Last month, these brands sold 708,049 vehicles and held 46.5 percent of the market. Sales for the year-to-date overall are down by 0.8 percent.

European brands saw an uptick in market share for the month, capturing 9.6 percent of the U.S. market with sales of 130,171 vehicles. In September they held 9.6 percent of the market and sold 140,857 vehicles. October 2017 sales were up by 3 percent over October 2016 when they sold 126,414 vehicles. For the year-to-date, European brand sales have increased 2.1 percent from 2016.

Domestic automakers sold 606,261 vehicles for the month, giving them a 44.7 percent share of the U.S. auto market in October. Sales were down 2.9 percent from October 2016, although their market share was up slightly from September when they held 44.3 percent of the market and sold 674,961 vehicles. Domestic sales are down 3.4 percent for the year thus far.

Trucks, SUVs Are Favorites with U.S. Shoppers

Trucks and SUVs continued to dominate sales across the country. Seven of the month’s top-ten-selling vehicles fell into the category, with the Ford F-Series, Chevrolet Silverado, and Ram pickups maintaining their perch at the top of the leaderboard.

When shopping for crossovers, Americans continued to gravitate toward international brands. In fourth place overall for the month, the Toyota RAV4 was the top-selling crossover with sales up 29 percent over last October. The Nissan Rogue was also a hot item with shoppers, logging a sixth place finish for the month and a sales increase of 43 percent from last October. The Honda CR-V finished the month in seventh place with sales down 8.4 percent, while the Chevrolet Equinox captured the tenth place slot with sales up 28.5 percent from October 2016.

Despite the ongoing popularity of trucks and SUVS, three cars continue to be perennial favorites among American shoppers. The affordable Honda Civic logged a fifth place finish in October with sales up 15 percent from last October. The Honda Accord saw sales up 4.7 percent for the month, finishing in eighth place, while the Toyota Camry logged a ninth place finish in October. Sales for the sedan were down 11.2 percent.

American Dealers Rely on North American Manufacturing

Auto manufacturers were in the spotlight in October as NAFTA negotiators from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico found themselves at odds over proposed changes to the trade agreement’s rules of origin regarding North American and U.S. content. With so much focus on North American manufacturing, it’s important to note that these production facilities – many of which are located in the U.S. – supplied 470,948 vehicles for U.S. dealer lots in October. These included 212,058 Asian brand cars, 222,742 Asian brand trucks, 17,702 European brand cars, and 18,446 European brand trucks.


AutoData Corp. reports that the seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) for October was 18.09 million units versus 17.87 million units a year ago. Total industry unit deliveries, including domestic brands and unadjusted for business days, decreased 1.3 percent compared to last October. International brands bucked that trend by rising 0.08 percent as a group. Sales for all brands were down 1.7 percent year to date. Industrywide, 1,354,875 vehicles were sold in October compared to 1,372,320 units sold a year ago.